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Grading Our Governors: A Report Card on Reopening States' Economies

Grading our governors
Our friends at FreedomWorks and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity yesterday announced the publication of their new report, Grading Our Governors: A Report Card on Reopening States' Economies which assigns letter grades to each of the United States’ 50 governors based on their actions so-far to reopen their respective states’ economies. Grades can and will change with future developments.

FreedomWorks and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity unveiled the report on a webinar press conference Monday morning, along with Governors Brian Kemp (R-GA), Kim Reynolds (R-IA), and Kevin Stitt (R-OK), all of whom earned “A” letter grades for their state-based responses thus far.

Stephen Moore, cofounder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, commented:

Based on current trends, we could see a rebound of the U.S. economy by mid-August, 2020. The states that open up the soonest and the safest will have swifter and stronger recoveries than those that stay closed. Businesses cannot go another month like this, which is why it is critical we take a closer look at which states are doing the right thing and beginning to reopen. This report does just that.

Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks President, commented:

What we must now treat is both the COVID-19 patient as well as the economic patient. In order to prevent catastrophic damage to both our economy and the livelihoods of millions of hard working Americans, we must begin to reopen in a safe and responsible manner. This report card will allow Americans to hold their governors responsible to do so.

The study, which is the only one we’ve seen that applies objective criteria to how politicians have dealt with the COVID-19 epidemic and panic, gave an “A” rating to nine governors:

Jared Polis (D) Colorado

Ron DeSantis (R) Florida

Brian Kemp (R) Georgia

Kim Reynolds (R) Iowa

Pete Ricketts (R) Nebraska

Kevin Stitt (R) Oklahoma

Kristi Noem (R) South Dakota

Bill Lee (R) Tennessee

Mark Gordon (R) Wyoming

The governors with A and B grades are already moving to restore freedom and opportunity, and trusting individuals to follow best practices or isolate themselves based on their own risk assessments. The D and F grade governors continue to arbitrarily ban activities without respect to any sensible risk versus benefit calculation – and are therefore taking the largest risk of all – the risk of catastrophic economic collapse.

It is worth noting, though it will surely not surprise regular readers of CHQ, that no Republicans earned an “F” rating and only one Democrat earned an “A” rating.

Two of the worst states, Virginia and Pennsylvania, have Democrat governors who seem to be going out of their way to devastate the economies of the states entrusted to them:


“Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order expires May 8. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has said he plans to ease restrictions starting then on construction, curbside alcohol pickup and vehicle sales.” Pennsylvania has designated real estate non-essential, wiping out the spring sales season even in the vast parts of the state with very few cases.

“The state’s reopening plan groups counties into six geographic regions and says that each region must report a 14-day total of 50 or fewer new coronavirus infections per million residents in order to be considered for an easing of restrictions”53 (ABC 6)

• # of deaths per million: 126.1
• # of Unemployment claims: 710,589
• Unemployment increase: 2596.17%
• Reopening businesses:
· elective procedures: April 27
· non-essential: May 8 (likely) for some businesses, including retail
· other: May 8 (likely) for child care (certain regions)
• Governor: Tom Wolf
• Party Affiliation: Democrat
• Sworn In: January 20, 2015
• State Risk Tier Level: High


“Virginia’s stay-at-home order expires June 10. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) extended his order closing essential businesses through May 8”63 (The Hill)
“Northam and federal officials have indicated they want to see a 14-day trend of declining cases before phasing in an end to the restrictions on businesses that Northam imposed in a series of executive orders to fight the spread of the virus” (ABC13News)

• # of deaths per million: 38.0
• # of Unemployment claims: 336,375
• Unemployment increase: 4486.67%
• Stay-at-home expiration date: June 10
• Reopening businesses: must see decrease in positive tests and hospitalizations for 14 days, a significant increase in testing and contact tracing, sufficient hospital beds and intensive care capacity, and an increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment before reopening any businesses
· elective procedures: May 1
• Governor: Ralph Northam
• Party Affiliation: Democrat
• Election year: January 13, 2018
• Quote- “While we are working toward a time that we can ease some of these restrictions, we are not there yet, but we are moving in that direction,” Northam said during a coronavirus briefing on Friday.
• State Risk Tier Level: Medium

We urge CHQ readers and friends to read Grading Our Governors: A Report Card on Reopening States' Economies and if your Governor has not earned an “A” or a “B” to call him or her to demand that the economy of your state be reopened.

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